As it turns out, immediately after a fair catch, a team can put the ball in play in one of two ways: 1) the conventional snap, which is used 99.9999% of the time, or 2) the fair catch kick.
If a team elects to execute the fair catch kick, they can line up to attempt a field goal at the spot of the fair catch. The opposition must line up 10 yards away from the spot of the ball, and the kick must be made out of the hold of another player, or on a drop kick.
If it's kicked through the uprights, it's worth three points. If it's short and in bounds, the opposition is free to return it.
The Cardinals attempted such a kick today before halftime in their game against the Giants, with Neil Rackers trying to put it through the uprights from 68 yards away. It sounds like an unreasonable distance, but he doesn't have to kick behind an offensive or defensive line. He can just put all his leg into it and not worry about trajectory.
Of course, that doesn't matter either, if you duff it like Rackers did. The kick killed several worms and came closer to bruising someone's shins than it did to going through the uprights.
The last person to make one of these fair catch kicks in the NFL was Mac Percival of the Chicago Bears, who beat the Green Bay Packers with it in 1968. Since then, it's been tried and missed 11 times.
- fair catch kick